An attempted robbery of a taxi cab driver in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Monday afternoon didn’t quite turn out as planned after a police officer happened to roll up in the middle of the robbery.
The robbery occurred after the cab stopped at a red light. Video footage from inside the cab captured the terrified driver, Ralph Valletta, explaining to the robber he just started his work day and all he had was $11 in cash. The suspect, who was later identified as 18-year-old Victor Martinez-Herrera, was unsatisfied with Valletta’s response and demanded his wallet and cell phone, in addition to the $11.
Meanwhile, what Martinez-Herrera failed to notice was the patrol car that pulled up behind the taxi. Berks County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Ely said he first suspected something was wrong after the cab sat at the light as it turned green and cycled through again.
“It sounded like people talking loud or some kind of an argument coming from inside of the cab, but sometimes you just blow those things off,” Ely later said. “The commotion was still going on, so I made it a point to put on my emergency lights.”
As Valletta was still retrieving his wallet and cell phone, he noticed the flashing lights in the rearview mirror.
“It was like a vision of God when I saw those lights,” Valletta said.
Moments later, Ely approached the vehicle, walking slowly to assess the situation.
“Right when I hit the door, I heard the driver say, ‘Please don’t shoot me,’ and ‘He has a gun to my head,’” Ely recalled. “I immediately bent down and pulled my firearm out because I noticed he had a hood over his face when he looked over at me.”
Ely quickly apprehended Martinez-Herrera, who was pleading with the officer, informing him that the gun wasn’t real. As it turned out, the gun wasn’t exactly real – a pellet gun – but the crime he just committed was.
Martinez-Herrera was arrested and charged with robbery, terroristic threats and a weapons offense. He is being held on a $100,000 bail.
Valletta, who returned to work that same evening after the terrifying ordeal, could not thank the officer enough and reportedly gave him a hug in the middle of the intersection after the man who just had a gun to his head was in custody.
[ Reading Eagle ]